Former minister wants “misleading” 2018 budget withdrawn

The former Minister for the Brong-Ahafo Region, Eric Opoku is calling for the withdrawal of the 2018 budget document from Parliament. According to him, Parliament will be doing a disservice to the nation, if it goes ahead to approve the document.

Making his point strongly at the debate of the Financial Policy of Government for 2018 on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday,  Eric Opoku who is the Ranking Member of the Committee on Food and Agriculture indicated that the 2018 budget document is “misleading”.

He is therefore demanding that the Finance Minister, as a matter of urgency, withdraws it from Parliament and effect the necessary corrections and then resubmit it to the House to avoid misinforming the general public.

He pointed out “contradictions and inconsistencies” in the 2018 budget statement.

Referring to page 183 of the 2018 budget document,  under “BREAK DOWN OF PROJECTED ABFA FUNDING”, he argued that from the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, ABFA stands for Annual Budget Funding Amount. “Unfortunately”, he revealed that in the 2018 budget, the acronyms and abbreviations section, it indicates that ABFA stands for “ASSETS BASED FINANCE ASSOCIATION”.

He therefore condemned the budget document for 2018, rejecting and challenging its authenticity. The MP called on the Speaker of Parliament Mike Aaron Oquaye and the House to urge the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta to withdraw and resubmit the document.

ACHIEVEMENT

Mr. Eric Opoku further argued that “if you project to deliver 233,356 metric tons of fertilizer and you end up delivering 100,000 tons at the end of the period  (2017) what have you done”. According to him, the NDC government targeted 180,000 metric tons in 2014 and ended by delivering 90,000 tons, but at the debate of the 1015 budget, the then Ranking member on Agriculture who is now the Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Afriyie Akoto said the government did  nothing by achieving just 50% of its own target for the period ended 2014 urging the then Government to take Agriculture serious in this country.

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Eric Opoku in reference said that Dr. Afriyie Akoto is the sector minister of Food and Agriculture, but the highest they could go is 43% of their own target.

However, the Member of Parliament for Assin South Ntim Fordjour challenged his argument by stating what he called the “true picture” of Ghana’s agricultural sector performance over the years starting from 2013. He noted that in 2013 the agric sector grew at 0.07%, 0.08% in 2014, 2.8% in 2015 and 3% in 2016 respectively but he said Agric has grown at the rate of 4.3% which is higher than when the Minority were in government.

John Ntim Fordjour stated that the 2018 budget will establish the District Center for Agric, Commerce and Technology in each of the 216 districts.

The Center will support farmers with implement, support services, funding thereby creating jobs for the youth in all the districts.

Onua FM | Owoahene Omari Acheampong | 3news.com